Saturday, December 31, 2011

And We Didn't Die of Botulism

Tonight the man and I tried the infused cherry vodka I made 04/2010 (or at least this is what the hastily scrawled marker said on the Mason jar lid). I vaguely remember throwing sweet cherries we picked in Michigan into jars and adding 100 proof vodka. A little shaking for a few days and then a long, forgotten ride on a shelf in the basement, Sweet Cherry Vodka was made. I think I was actually suppose to make a syrup after a couple of days of infusion and properly preserve it, but (if I remember correctly I was planning to make a cordial), I begin a long, slow stumble to Louisville and a very hectic life and so many projects were banished into the crevices of a stressed out mind.

So, tonight I strained the cherries out and stared at the gorgeous magenta liquor. I put it in a recycled, clean bourbon bottle. Despite it's aesthetically pleasing appearance, I was scared to try it. I'm not sure why as I have been preserving my own food for years. Man came home, I showed him the cherry vodka and he picked it up and tried it. "Mmm...," he said. Then made himself a drink. I sipped a little and waited to see if the mixture was contaminated. Well, two hours later we are both still here and enjoying our drinks.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

12 for '12 for 12

12 for '12 for 12

Edited: I love the categories My Freezer is Full came up with and changed a couple of mine and added descriptions to each of my goal categories.

I like goals. I like challenges. I am horrible at accomplishing either one. I am an over-achieving procrastinator. I put off what I find disagreeable. I find a lot to be disagreeable. I am often unhappy with my "now". I am highly unorganized. I have an eye for details. I am often lost in the details. I am a perfect self-imperfectionist. I can be slightly OCD about things.

Current obsession: I am ready for a change. I need to reduce my debt, lose weight and apathy, balance my work/life ratio, volunteer, eat healthier and more local, purge crap I have accumulated, Buy Nothing New, clean and renew my environment, be mindful of my carbon footprint, work better, prepare for a rapidly changing world, be kinder to others, live more simply, be more satisfied...yeah, yeah, it is on and on. I am simply overwhelmed by all I really need to think, act and corral in my life. The best cliché I can come up with is the forest and trees one. I've really let my proverbial forest go all wild and dark and scary with gnarly, smog-choked trees and I'm having trouble seeing either one. Or something like it.

This next year, a brand spanking new 2012 one, I resolve to stay focused. I am going to challenge myself to a set of 12 goals in 2012 in each of the 12 months-hence 12 for '12 for 12 Challenge. I am going to be talking a lot about these goals (thought I would warn you) and making myself think a lot about these goals. By writing out my accomplishments, I can hold myself accountable, push myself to achieve a higher quality of life. At least that is the undermining purpose of this challenge. At the end of each month, I plan to summarize the accomplishments.

All the goals are broadly defined categories for the flexibility of detail. Some will (hopefully) carry over into each of the months (like, for examples, the ones involving weight loss and debt reduction), others will sprout, bloom and seed all in the same 30 or so days. The fun is I get to create the details each month for the category. By the end of the year (and providing the Mayans weren't on to something about this 2012 calendar ending thingamadoodle), I hope I can end this challenge having actually completed a set of goals (and all the great things that will be part of the fall out of actually accomplishing something active in my life and creating healthy habits). To my abstract mind, um forest, it seems like a healthier means of finding one's trees.

Learn: This can be accomplished in many different ways: read, take a class, participate
Complete: Borrowing this one from Fullfreezer because I, too, have a million and one uncompleted projects
Move: Exercise, dance, hike. I need to lose weight. I need to refind my energy.
Sustain: The planet, my children, my job, my health, my life, myself
Plan: Plan for the future, plan for change, plan on doing things in ways that allow me to achieve a better quality of life and living...
Nourish: Also borrowed from Fullfreezer (used to be "Eat")-I like the idea of nourishment for the body vs. food. It also extends to mind and soul.
Create: Craft, relationships, ideas, gardens, etc.
Grow: gardens, food, children, myself
Observe: photograph, visit new places, watch for birds, see the changing seasons, etc.
Budget: mostly money, but other things can be placed here as well.
Play: Do something fun. Play soccer with my boys, go have a beer now and then, go to a concert.
Love: I really need improvement here. I need to allow myself to love unconditionally, let old grudges go, forgive, love myself.

And there you have it, simple and flexible, a goal plan even this challenge-challenged girly can achieve. Right? If not, even just sitting around watching The Graduate for the umpteenth time can fit in there somewhere. It's fool-proof, fail-safe!

Happy New Year!

(and THANKS for reading my blog this year!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goal Kick

Sorry to bore you with all this goal, goal, goal, blah stuff. I am not even going to bother with a photo tonight. So, it occured to me tonight that we seem to be at a very cherished part of the year: The New One! Many cultures celebrate New Year as strongly as the Christmas, etc. holidays this time of year. In many parts of the world, New Year means renewal, a time to cleanse our surroundings, both home and body, as well as our minds and souls. It includes feasts and oranges and settling the scores of old years and ringing in the new.

For the past 10 years or so I have created a list of goals for myself to achieve in the given New Year (like many). I am always so full of hope at this point. Then, life gets busy and messy and I fall back into bad habits and the goal list gets ignored (like many).

I've heard it takes 20 days to create a new habit. I need to test this theory, I really do!

So, I am still working on my goal list for 2012, but I have an idea to incorporate all my hodge-podge lists I've made this year into a neat "12 for '12 for the 12". Basically, I will make a broad set of 12 action goals: Play, Cook, Read, Learn, Save etc. and then I can focus on my 41 goals as they fit a category (or two). Fuzzy? I'll explain it better in a couple of days. Its part of the challenges I am setting for myself in 2012. Other than trying to continue on with Etsy and the occasional fix, thrifting is really not going to be much of a focus (as I am planning to do a "buy nothing" year to meet some financial goals). I hope you continue reading. I thought about making a new blog for my self-challenge (and may still), but for now it is not always easy to keep up with this one. As Van pointed out about gardening and too much too soon, I want to set steps I can actually achieve (not overwhelm myself further-2011 was the Year of Overwhelm) and realistically I am not the habitual blogger I was in my former years. However, I really want to record my progress, keep a diary of my steps towards my goals. I find that useful.

Until 1/1/12, I am checking in on my 12 before 12 progress. Um, I am trying...really, I am! :)
12 8 by 2012:

1. Finish all my case files (work thing) -in progress (please, please let me get them done this week!)

2. Bake Christmas cookies (hopefully this weekend)

3. File, shred, or recycle 2011 paperwork (at least Jan-Nov)-in progress (almost done)

4. Send package to friend in AU (hang head in shame-it's been months)-ei, ei, ei

5. Clean garage (and to borrow Van's word: BE BRUTAL)-no, too cold-what was I thinking? :( I think I will replace "garage" with "apartment" and I am making headway there! :)

6. Paint and decorate Lyndon's castle (this one better be crossed off by the 25th!) badly

7. File my piles of papers in my office (work thing)-in progress

8. Complete Individual Development Plan by due date (work thing)-must finish by Friday (it's due!)

9. List ten new items on the Etsy site. -probably not going to happen, but I will try Saturday.

OK, you made it to the end of my 12 before 12 before 12 for the '12 for the 12. Thank you for reading, My Friends!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Looking to the '12


I wish I could ask for the gift of time for the holidays. I would pass it around like cookies, I really would!

OK, so I have mentioned a few times I used to keep a "simple living" (kind of), "homesteading" (kind of) blog and, despite giving the blog up, I have kept many of my interest in the area of urban farming (or small scale farming since I eventually bought a small farm and moved out of the city). Since moving to Louisville (part time...ah, who can keep up with all of this!), I have wanted to become active in urban gardening/farming again. I did plant vegetables in the neglected flower beds at my apartment this past year and have had many stimulating conversation with my co-worker about urban farming, but because I was getting used to my job, all the blessed travel, and just re-adjustment of a life, I did not do much beyond this one simple act. Now, all of this is about to change...

First, I joined a grassroots group dedicated to this endeavor and will be attending my first meeting next month. Oh, actually in February, I guess, because, yes, I have to travel for work...again.

Anyway, I also joined a urban gardening group in my blighted home city (the one I moaned about a month or so ago when I learned my property value had nose-dived into the dirt). The group seems to be struggling (from my perspective), but I have offered my help in the form of passing along ideas from the more successful group in Louisville or to provide a blog post now and again. I am excited!

Do any of you belong to a grassroots group dedicated to city revitalization or gardening? I'd love to hear about it! I am so looking forward to spring this year and, once again, getting my fingernails dirty!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Giveaways are the Best

Quick post because I am getting ready to leave for my 4 hour trip back to KY. Thought I would boost my chances (well, maybe...I mean if I tell you about this one and you enter I supopose I am lessoning my chances, but how can I not!). Check out Vintagegoodness' great book giveaway!

Everyone should have a copy of Creepy-ass Dolls for their collection! (I know I really want it! :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


~Insert photo of happy puppy~

I seem to come and go here on the ol' blog. Mostly, as I have stated over and over, it has to do with a high-demand job and all the blessed traveling I do (both for a living and because of my seemingly transient lifestyle I have made for myself). Sometimes, I just don't blog unless it has to do with the thrifting habits (of which have been kind of sparse). I figure most of my readers are here for that bit and don't care to hear me blab about the so-called grey areas of my life.

Yes, I am in another grey area. This will be your only warning.

First, I have to say I am deeply concerned with Global Warming. I believe, as a once scientist, that we are in an environmental quandry. We are also in an economic quandry, as we all know, and combined, history is really making its mark on our backs.

I bring up the first because yesterday and today the temps in KY were nearly 70. It is mid-December! (And, I really hate to admit this to y'all, but I loved it!)

The other quandry is also a big complication. I have hinted about my career, but let's just say I am a "servant" and leave it at that. For the past few months, rumours have been flying all about us and whether we will have jobs through next year. Some of my very good friends-people I used to work with before moving to KY-are losing their jobs (well, some get to chose if they will transfer to a new location). This week I heard my own position is facing the same plight (transfer or lose the job).

Truth be told (and rumors are true) I will lose my job because I cannot transfer [again]. Four hours away from my children is far enough. I could not even fathom being able to only see them once or less per month due to distance. Sadly, because I have to travel so much for the job as it is, I have been unable to move them to stay mostly with me (husband still has his job up north and in-laws provide care). It really has been the hardest year of my life (and I am not just speaking figuratively).

Economically, losing my job will be hard on us. We have become used to my higher salary and the job perspective is not so sunny in No. Indiana. I would really have to be creative in finding a way to make ends meet. I sometimes wonder (especially on sleepless nights) if I will find another job in my field. I am full of doubt.

Of course, all could be rumors and only rumors, but time (as in the next few months) shall tell. i really just needed a kind ear to listen to my worries. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WTF! Tuesday, I mean Wednesday

I spotted this lovely frame some time ago at a Louisville Goodwill. Yes, a high quality, tasteful gift for that naughty female poodle in your life! Or perhaps a place to just keep a photo of your X. Of course, it would work wonders for someone with the initials B-I-T-C-H. And, last, but certainly nor least, don't buy it, but instead prop it up on a shelf near that oblivious woman who blocks the thrift aisles and stares for what seems like hours at a chipped, scary faced clown knick knack that belongs on the next installment of WTF! Tuesdays....So many options!

Check out more thrifting horrors at Sir Thrift a Lot!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12 X 12

I can so relate to this post and challenge started by Oh, Hello Friend (but found via Van's Thriftcore). I've posted my 41 goals a couple of times and have really been trying hard to accomplish them by next Oct, but I am only making slow progress. I need to jump start my goal list a bit. And, give myself a little morale booster as well.

The point of this challenge is to actually cross everything off a list (I think or at least this is what I am taking from this challenge. I, too, am a serial, procrastinating list maker). I have many, many items I need to get done before the end of the month (and New Year!) and, unfortunately, most them center around my ever-busy job.

On top of that, I actually made a sale on the Etsy site (and it made it safe and sound to its happy new home), so I guess I will stick with it a bit longer. I have been stockpiling junk for years anyway, no, let's be honest here, I am beginning to see signs of hoarding!*

*Inserting footnote in center: Not the icky kind anyway!

I need to purge, lighten my load a bit, clear the physical stuff, so the all the other stuff can calm the F down in my life. Plus, I really want to showcase my favorite finds, but I seem to have lost a direction in the chaos that has been 2011 (and the last part of 2010).

Sadly, I just discovered this challenge, so I am not going to disappoint myself by making a list of twelve I will in no way shape or form accomplish in 23 days. S0, I am making a list of 8. Seems like a nice, round number.

Speaking of numbers, and a bit of an aside, I have guessed the winning Powerball two weekends in a row! And, of course, I have never bought a ticket! :)

Ok, seems I am procrastinating again...

12 8 by 2012:

1. Finish all my case files (work thing)

2. Bake Christmas cookies (hopefully this weekend)

3. File, shred, or recycle 2011 paperwork (at least Jan-Nov)

4. Send package to friend in AU (hang head in shame-it's been months)

5. Clean garage (and to borrow Van's word: BE BRUTAL)

6. Paint and decorate Lyndon's castle (this one better be crossed off by the 25th!)

7. File my piles of papers in my office (work thing)

8. Complete Individual Development Plan by due date (work thing)

9. List ten new items on the Etsy site.

(Yep, I added a ninth goal! Work seemed too heavily represented as usual).

Wish me luck! (Thanks, Van, for helping me find this challenge!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Yea, I just posted, but...

Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, KY

OMG! This is going on the Goal List! I have got to spend a weekend at this place. And, the best part, IT'S IN KENTUCKY and less than an hour from Louisville!

The Wigwam Village caught my eye on Eartha Kitsch's blogroll. I found Eartha's blog via Rae's great blog and Rae constantly sparks my interest in something (I think I am referring to that yummy looking pumpkin monkey bread at the moment!)

Not really Wigwams, but wonderful heated/cooled Teepees!

Dollhouses Castles

A week ago, Kim K. at Musings with Kim showed her darling gingerbread house she made for her little girl. I fell in love and decided I was going to make one for my nieces Hattie and Harper. So, when I found a few minutes to spare I scoured Michaels looking for one of those unfinished house shaped CD holders...with no luck. I was thinking I need to remember to put this on the mental thrift list (I couldn't even find them online!) I decided this will be next year's project (and little Harper will be closer to three and more inclined to play with it).

While at Michaels, however, I stumbled upon this unfinished wooden castle! Because I am the mom to boys, this is the perfect Christmas project for me to make for them. Ironically, I had just mentioned to my mother-in-law that I wished they made dollhouses for boys as Lyndon loves playing with the one I thrifted earlier this year. I am so happy to have found this castle.

(Disclaimer: I don't believe in boys can't play with girls toys and vice versus, my brother played Barbies with me plenty of times in our youth and I with his Hotwheels. It's sad we divide our society into sexist categories at such young ages. School, unfortunately, seems to have brought the societal notion that some toys are only for girls and others for boys into our household-much to my chagrin).

So, next week I am going to quickly transform it into a proper place for knights and dragons. Hopefully, I'll have a finished product to show you (I borrowed that photo above as I am traveling this week for work. Check out the finished one!)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom (Giveaway)

Hey What's For Dinner

I was just curious? Do any of you check out my blogroll? See, I have some really fabulous blogs listed over there (and I am constantly adding new ones I stumble upon). You should check them out. In fact, note to self, I have some to add. Ah, but I digress.

I want to bring your attention to one in particular. See, the wonderful blog is celebrating a Blogoversay. Coincidentally, I also just had my one year blogoversary for Lime Kiln and her blog was one of the first one I added to the Roll: Hey, What's for Dinner, Mom. Laura not only thrifts, she cooks, she homesteads, she raises boys, she writes and...she does all of this in Alaska! The snowy, cold part of the United States in case you are lost on some tropical warm island somewhere and forgot. (I bet she laughs and laughs when we lower 48 start moaning about cold and snow in January-I know I would!!)

Laura also has some great linky projects: The Penny Worthy Project & Just Another Meatless Monday (to name a couple of my favorites). I have saved so many of her recipes to try.

Now, I know you do not need any more incentive to check out her blog, Blogroll it, social media it, follow it, etc., but there is more... Laura is giving away a KitchenAid Mixer to honor her blog's birthday!! (And, I am not ashamed to say, I totally want the teal colored KitchenAid!)

(And, she is providing it all alone-it is not a paid endorsement!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: Kermit Edition

(Kermit sings to a camel from Jerusalem)

This is going to rank up there with one of my favorite finds of 2011: Kermit! It's an original stuffed frog from 1976. By the way, have you seen the new Muppets Movie? We saw it on Black Friday and I highly recommend it if you are a vintage Muppets fanatic. Ah, the memories this film brought back...!

I have always loved vintage handmade items and this polyester patchwork puppy is no exception! He joins my other vintage Christmas pillows on the ugly hand-me-down couch (someday I will replace it. Sigh.)
Unfinished wooden Yule tree. I have grand plans for it...but you all have heard about my life and its busy-ness, so we'll see if I get to it this year.

Three small boxes of Shiny Brights. I am not telling the price because you all would be jealous. :)

A couple of cheapo animal story books. I love the pictures and plan to share them with you this week for Corey Moortgat's Lil' Vintage Story Books link party. She is a fabulous paper artist and I love her blog. I have a lot of vintage story books and have wanted to participate for some time. Here's my chance!

The other vintage story book. I probably had these as a youth as I loved anything animals (still do).

OK, just a glance of my weekly (or close to it) thrift feed. Sharing my vintage treasures at Her Library Adventures and possibly others (TBA).

Oh, and I have news! I sold my first item on my Etsy site: Flea Circus Star!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

41 Goals List Revisited (Dec)

Well, November flew. I don't believe I even glanced at my personal goal list last month, although I did manage to cross two items off (Etsy store created and the B12 injections started). I am behind on others (like, wasn't I going to make a thrifted recipe once a month? Will two items count in December?)

December's really here.In other words (John Lennon's actually), " Another year over and a new one just begun..." To be frank, I am just not really a winter fan. I despise the cold, the high heating bills, driving on icy roads, the constant dampness, the darkness. I tend to get a little melancholy this time of year (although, 2011 seems to have been an overall melancholy year for me due to many factors). That being said, I see a few items I need to focus on this month: working out (great for melancholy), reading, writing, the first two goals, the one where I don't let work pile up, and any other involving indoor activity. I mean I really doubt I will hike any state parks, hold a yard sale, or (truth be told) even get out much until spring (107 days and counting).

OK, here it is again...

1. Play with the boys more often
2. Record their lives (e.g. photo albums, scrapbooks, etc.)
3. Get out and make some friends (KY)
4. Be a tourist in my home place(s)
5. Plan a Nashville vacation with Hubby in Oct.
6. Plan to attend next year’s family reunion in VA (paternal side)
7. Pay down 25% of our debt
8. Purge at least 25% of our crap
9. Create an Etsy store or try selling (not buying!) on Ebay
10. …Or at least have a yard sale
11. Work out three times a week (my choice!)
12. Find the “choice” in things, not the chore
13. Prepare to move next summer to new apartment or house
14. Sell or keep renters in little house (rented)
15. Refinance little house
16. Attend one event in Louisville per month.
17. Take more photographs, print out these photographs
18. Learn to use the Camera (better)
19. Learn to artfully edit photographs
20. Walk/run a marathon next spring or summer
21. Finish the vintage camper by next summer
22. Read one new book per month (sad, I used to be such a reader)
23. Purge read, never-read-again books
24. Try listening to books in the car while traveling for work
25. Go to the dentist X2 (I’m late on my check-ups=friendly reminder to self)
26. Organize-leaving it vague on purpose (work and home)
27. Take lunch to work, eat at home mor
e28. Write again-anything!
29. Work on my blog, be diligent about posties, don’t pigeon hole your life
30. Don’t pigeon hole your life (warrants a repeating)
31. Learn a new craft32. Hike KY state parks
33. Get the B12 injections as suggested by dr (maybe it would help the fatigue)
34. Get a new tattoo
35. Try a new recipe from thrifted Cookbook once a month (maybe even per week!)
36. Don’t let work pile up, be efficient
37. Take a class
38. Do yoga again
39. Donate blood regularly
40. Try growing cactus from seed
41. TBD